The Greater Akron area ranks among the best large metro regions in the country in so-called opportunity employment — having available jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree and which typically pay above the nation’s annual median wage of $37,690.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland on Wednesday released a report examining opportunity employment and opportunity occupations in the nation’s 121 largest metro areas using the latest available labor market data.
The Akron metro area — Summit and Portage counties — ranked 16th out of 121 in the 44-page report.
"I would say it's a positive for the region," said Kyle Fee, one of three authors of the report. "Akron is doing better than the average." The information in the report can help local policy makers and employers promote opportunities for people without four-year degrees, he said.
Other Ohio metro areas also fared well. Toledo ranked first overall, with Cleveland seventh, Cincinnati 13th, and Dayton 15th. Columbus ranked 47th.
For the Akron metro area, the top 10 opportunity occupations, median wage and opportunity employment jobs are:
• Registered nurses, $69,200, 5,400.
• Secretaries and administrative assistants, $34,300, 4,700.
• Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, $42,600, 4,500.
• Bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks, $37,100, 3,100.
• Maintenance and repair workers, $40,300, 3,000.
• Construction laborers, $45,800, 2,400.
• Licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses, $40,700, 2,300.
• Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, $63,300, 2,000.
• Retail sales worker supervisors, $38,400, 2,000.
• General and operations managers, $103,200, 1,600.
The wage figures were adjusted to reflect the local cost of living. Cost of living is one of the major factors that impact the findings, said Lisa Nelson, report co-author.
The report defines opportunity occupations as jobs that pay above the national annual median wage, adjusted for regional price differences, that are accessible to people who do not have a four-year college degree.
Opportunity employment accounts for 21.6 percent of total employment in the 121 metro areas used in the report.
Akron’s opportunity employment was 28.1 percent of total employment in Summit and Portage counties, with 25.9 percent of jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree.
The researchers said some of the largest opportunity occupations, including in health care and skilled trades, could experience above-average growth through 2026 and are not considered to be at significant risk of automation. But the reverse is true for some occupations in office and administrative support.
The report raises other questions, such as looking into how the findings impact regional growth, that may be part of a subsequent study, Fee said.
The report was done in conjunction with researchers at the Federal Reserve banks of Philadelphia and Atlanta and revisits work the banks have previously done.
Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or email@example.com. Follow him @JimMackinnonABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/JimMackinnonABJ